Basketball is boring

That's how boring a ghost game in the basketball league is

There are ghost games not only in the Bundesliga. The basketball players are currently also determining their German champions without fans in the stands - in tournament form. And that of all things in the Munich Audi Dome, a huge hall that can hold up to 6,500 spectators in normal times. A strange spectacle.

Munich's basketball temple is located in the west of the city, in an idyllic park. The sun shines from a steel blue sky. Bayern's group game against BG Göttingen will begin in a little over an hour. So home game.

The BG Göttingen at the BBL final tournament in Munich

This is how the BG Göttingen experiences the BBL final tournament in Munich. © Imago / r

But where, in view of the wonderful weather, hundreds of basketball fans and cyclists would tumble down their dry throats at the tables in the neighboring beer garden, there are only a few day trippers. The bright red Bayern bus is shunting in front of the hall. Nobody seems to care either. Only a press photographer takes some pictures.

The entrance for journalists is just around the corner. Their number is also strictly regulated in the final tournament. The hygiene and behavior rules alone comprise four pages. In addition, every reporter has to fill out a questionnaire with personal data.

Interior Minister Herrmann also has to go through the lock. © Imago

And then there is also the lock on which the word “disinfection” is emblazoned in large letters. That reminds a little of the security check in the airport, only that a fine spray of disinfectant trickles down on you. Only then are the reporters allowed to enter the hall. There they have to clean their hands again before an employee measures a fever - and in the best case, lets it pass with the words “36.7 degrees, everything is okay”.

As usual, the players warm up on the floor. But that was it with basketball normality. Only 40 of the 6500 places are occupied, plus a few cameramen and stewards. Everyone is wearing a mask. No clapping, no chanting, no drumming. The expression yawning emptiness has never been more appropriate. The powerful bass music from the tape can no longer tear anything out in terms of mood.

Even the funny mascots are missing

And so the minutes stretch like chewing gum until the teams are presented. Actually the central event before the kick-off of a basketball game - including artificial fog, light show and chants. But now Faithless ’Insomnia is half-heartedly blaring out of the boxes. Even the funny mascots Zuffi and Berni, otherwise mood makers in faux fur, are missing. Instead, Bayern veteran Uli Hoeneß and Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann made themselves comfortable in the stands. It smells like disinfectant.

Shortly before the start of the game, Herrmann answers journalists' questions. "I wanted to see how things are going here with all the hygiene concepts," says Herrmann. "I think it's a good concept. Everything is being observed very carefully. Now we have to see whether this is brought to a good end for the final on June 28th, "the tournament could well serve as a model for other sports such as handball or ice hockey.

The game finally begins. Apart from the calls of the players and coaches, nothing can be heard in the gigantic hall. With free throws it is dead quiet. Sometimes the whistle of a referee tears you out of lethargy. Only the hall spokesman pretends that everything is as usual and exuberantly celebrates particularly successful actions - there is of course no reaction from the stands. There is only an encouraging clap.

One of the people who was constantly applauding in the stands is Frank Meinertshagen, the managing director of the BG Göttingen, that afternoon. He traveled to Munich with two colleagues from the office to support his team - and after the game he was quite disillusioned, not only because of his team’s cracking 55:90 defeat.

BG boss Frank Meinertshagen in the empty grandstand. © Imago

“That's strange. I think it's different in the hall than in front of the TV, where you don't notice the lack of spectators that much. But in the hall it is more of a preparatory game, ”says the BG boss. “Especially when the game is decided early and a lot of changes are made. That reinforces the training game character again. ”And BG youngster Bennet Hundt adds:“ Playing without a spectator is a strange feeling. But as soon as the game starts, you forget the empty ranks. "

BG coach Johan Roijakkers sees it similarly: “I know that, and so do all the players except for the Americans. In the end, it's like European championships: You live in a hotel, have regular games and everyone eats together. Of course I miss the audience too, but that's not an unusual situation for me. "

BG trainer Johan Roijakkers and assistant trainer Hilke van der Zweep in their makeshift study in the hotel in Munich. © r

Of course, life in quarantine is not always pleasant, says Roijakkers. “But that affects everyone. I have no problem with that. We are busy all the time. The food is good, everything is very well organized and the people from the hotel are very friendly. ”In addition, there was enough space and the opportunity to set up a weight room in one of the hotel rooms and the office for the trainers in one . At the moment he likes to be in Munich, says the BG head coach. "After two and a half weeks you will certainly look forward to more freedom of movement again."

Good mood at the BG Göttingen: Here after dinner in the hotel in Munich. © r

He still thinks the solution with the final tournament is the best, despite some disadvantages, says Meinertshagen. “I am glad that we are part of one of the ten teams that are still there. These are the best teams in Germany. ”The feedback from coaches and players was also consistently positive. "Wait and see, maybe now the critical time will come in the quarantine in terms of the storage trolley. But everything is well prepared. So far there have been no critical voices. "

Nevertheless, he is looking forward to it, says the BG boss, “when we can play in front of spectators again, that is to say in a full, atmospheric, loud arena. But it will be a long time before then. ”After this day we can say: unfortunately.